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Cynthia Garrett: From Victim to Victor

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Author, latest:  I Choose Victory (Salem Books, 2020)

First women of color to host a late-night talk show called, LATER with Cynthia Garrett on NBC

Former TV host for additional programs on NBC, ABC, and VH1

Graduate, USC School of Law, Southern California

Comparative Law Degree, Oxford University, England

Host of TBN’s The Sessions with Cynthia Garrett  (formerly known as The London and Mini Sessions)



Married to Roger

Son, Christian

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Cynthia was raised in a Catholic home and always dreamed of being on television. She would read books and imitate characters, often pretending to be Barbara Walters.  When she was 9, she was sexually abused by her family member for several years.  Cynthia learned to suppress her emotions.  “When you’re a child, you process a lot of emotional breaks.  In order to continue forward, you shove all of it down and keep dealing,” says Cynthia.  As she would lie in bed asking God why this happened to her, Cynthia knew she was dealing with something.  “God told me it was spiritual warfare,” she says. “I had no idea what that was.” This single event colored the rest of her life.  “This is where my heart broke,” says Cynthia.  “This is where my soul literally split, and I learned that life was a battle spiritually.  I always knew that God was real.  I felt Him and His presence.”  At 14, her parents divorced.   Cynthia’s mother was left to take care of 6 children, so Cynthia was often left unsupervised.  When she was 16, she was raped.  Cynthia felt abandoned and misunderstood.  “My sexual abuse and my being raped were part of the demonic war waged against me to get me to quit on life,” she says.  She continued to suppress her emotions. By the time she went to college, Cynthia’s looks blossomed.  In her effort to protect herself and prove her worth, Cynthia began using relationships to hurt others.   “I started going through guys and love like toilet paper,” she says.  “Broken heartedness is what happens to us when we break as children.  We carry that as we grow up.  There is fear, shame, low self-esteem, and always anger – sometimes anger directed at God,” says Cynthia. 

While in law school, Cynthia began a spiral downward.  She began a quest to construct a confident identity and turned to men and cocaine.  Now in her mid-20s, Cynthia met and married a man she only knew for a month.  While on honeymoon in Italy, Cynthia discovered a large amount of drugs in his car.  While attempting to discard the drugs, Cynthia was arrested as an accomplice and sent to jail for 3 months.  On her first night in jail, Cynthia was at her lowest point.  She had a dream that a nun handed her a Bible with the words, Good News, on the cover.  The nun told her if she read the Bible and devoted her life to it, God would save her.  The next day, a woman came to her cell.  She held out a book and said, “This is God’s Word.  If you read it and devote your life to it, God will save you.”  Cynthia looked down at the book and across the cover was written the words, Good News Bible.  She gave her life to Christ alone in her prison cell.  “I remember the tears of joy, relief, and emotional freedom I felt in that moment,” she says.  “I felt known and understood, for the first time in my life, as I came to personally know and understand God.” While in prison, Cynthia discovered she had become pregnant on her honeymoon.  Eventually, she was sentenced to 6 years; her husband got 11.  After a second appeal, she was sentenced to house arrest, and soon she was able to move throughout the city.  For a year and a half, she lived in an apartment with her son.  With the help of her attorney in the US, Cynthia fled Italy and escaped through Switzerland before arriving in Los Angeles.  She began attending church and met many people connected to Hollywood.  Soon Cynthia was offered opportunities to work on television.

As she focused on her career, Cynthia got distracted and God took a back seat.  One day, when she felt she could no longer see Him, Cynthia hit her knees in surrender.  Her career in secular TV was thriving but inside Cynthia wanted to change women’s lives through faith-based programming. Today, she is the host for the TBN series, The Sessions with Cynthia Garrett. “It’s not a talk show; it’s a walk show,” she shares.  Cynthia reminds us that the self-esteem questions we have can all be answered in the person of Jesus Christ.  “You have to acknowledge Jesus because He’s the greatest takeaway from any segment on any issue,” says Cynthia. 

Cynthia believes we all have a personal warzone where we have to learn to fight against becoming a victim. Life is difficult and we cannot always choose what we face, but we can choose how we handle it. She explains, “When there never seems to be enough and you never have enough, a victim mentality settles in and spreads into a disease called poverty of the mind (POM).” 
Cynthia gives tips for choosing victory and moving towards. She says you should:

  • Own your own stuff—Taking personal responsibility for your actions.
  • Break bad habits—Replacing bad habits with good ones.
  • Set Goals--Make a plan by defining your goals.
  • Stop Doubting--Self-doubt is a dream killer. 
  • Procrastination is a no-no--It is the quicksand of accomplishment.
  • Never feed distraction--When your attention is pulled in a million directions, it's hard to stay focused.
  • Don’t put anybody down—Victors never put others down (including themselves),
  • Get out of your comfort zone--Choosing victory involves taking risks.
  • Nobody is perfect—People who live from a victim’s mindset believe they need to be perfect to be included. 
  • The time is now—There will never be a right time. Victors know that the right time is always NOW. 
  • No budget, no matter—Most of us never have the money to change everything we wish to change financially in our life. That’s why victory must begin internally. 
  • Be persistent—It’s the engine that will get you to the finish line.
  • Educate yourself—Only you can choose how much you know. 
  • Ask questions—Never think you know it all.
  • Own and apologize for your mistakes—Always admit when you are wrong and say you’re sorry.
  • Don’t be consumed by failure—Fear of failure will paralyze you.
  • Live unentitled—Break any remaining entitlements from your way of thinking.
  • It’s not about you—Understanding this helps clear up the world of entitlement you live in.

After turning in her book manuscript, Cynthia would be tested again with feeling like a victim. Her abuser decided to make a movie about their life. She was outraged that the producers would work with a sexual abuser, allowing him to co-produce the movie which contained several inaccuracies.  Cynthia took her concerns to the executives at the production company and after investigating, they decided to pull the film. 

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